By Linda Scales
There will be an extra 585 smiling faces at Christmas this year thanks to the generosity of University of Ottawa staff and faculty. Once again, employee contributions to the University’s annual Christmas Stocking Drive will provide gifts to the children of local families in need.
Anne-Marie Lacroix, senior officer, Convocation and Major Events in the Ceremonies and Events Office, has coordinated the project with the help of colleagues for nine years (although the campaign is older than that).
This fall, Lacroix received a list of names of children aged newborn to 17 years old from the Dalhousie Food Cupboard, the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard and the Centre alimentaire Aylmer. To every employee who answered her appeal in mid-November, she assigned a child’s first name, their gender and age. Shopping can be tricky with so little information to go on, but with some imagination every child is provided for.
“The centres tell me the families really appreciate it,” Lacroix says, adding that some employees even gave gifts to the parents this year. “One man put in a Tim Hortons gift card and someone else, a Christmas wreath. Another gave a gift to a newborn’s mother.”
“I coordinate the stocking drive, but could never do it without a lot of people helping,” she says. Some people contribute gifts while others — such as Facilities’ Transportation team — volunteer their time. They deliver the gifts to the three centres so they can be collected by the parents.
“There are all these generous people on campus who want to help,” Lacroix says. “I wish I could see the children opening their gifts!”